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Changes to Bankruptcy Rules Became Effective on December 1st

On December 1, 2020, several amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure took effect. These amendments had the primary effect of modifying the rules addressing bankruptcy appeals as well as making some other noticeable changes. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, it is not necessary to learn each of these revisions, but it is vital to make sure that you retain the assistance of an attorney who understands the bankruptcy laws inside and out.

Rule 2002

This regulation addresses what notice must be provided to creditors as well as other parties. The regulation has been primarily revised to add cases under chapter 13 to the rule regarding notice of orders confirming plans. This rule has also been changed to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary cases in Rule 2002 regarding notice to creditors. Changes in the regulation in which “pursuant” has been revised to “under” have also been made, but this change was likely only made to have improved the readability of Rule 2002. Changes to Rule 2002 were previously made in 2007 to provide creditors sufficient advance notice of the date of the scheduled plan confirmation in Chapter 13 as well as the deadline for filing a plan objection.

Rule 2004

Rule 2004 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure allows any interested party to require someone else to testify and provide documents on issues associated with your bankruptcy. A 2004 exam can address various issues including your actions, your conduct, your financial situation, any issues associated with your bankruptcy assets or Chapter 13 plan, and any issues that impact your right to pursue a discharge. A 2004 exam is similar to a deposition, only a witness who is subject to a 2004 exam is not always entitled to cross-examination.

The 2004 exam is used for various reasons and the exact manner in which the exam is utilized depends on the party that requests it. Trustees will often request a 2004 exam to determine the location of assets, your financial transactions, or the accuracy of bankruptcy schedules. Creditors often request a 2004 exam to either locate a property that is not part of a bankruptcy estate or discover facts that support an argument for nondischargeability. A person pursuing bankruptcy might seek a 2004 exam to explore the basis of a creditor’s potential nondischargeability claim.

2004 exams are not automatic. A person has to request an exam by filing a motion with the bankruptcy court and must have “just cause” for doing so. 2004 exams are limited to the main bankruptcy proceeding. If an adversary proceeding is involved, a 2004 exam cannot be used to obtain information from the people involved in a proceeding.

Rule 2004 has been modified to refer to both “documents” and “electronically stored information.” The regulation has also been changed so its subpoena section conforms with Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. As a result, a subpoena for a Rule 2004 can now be issued from a court where a bankruptcy case is pending as well as from a lawyer authorized to practice in that district even if the exam occurs in another district.

Rule 8012

Rule 8012 addresses corporate disclosure statements in bankruptcy appeals. More specifically, the regulation states that any nongovernmental corporation that is a party to a proceeding in court must file a statement that identifies any parent corporation. Any publicly held corporation under regulation must also file a statement that it owns 10% or more of its stock or state that no such corporation exists. Additionally, either the debtor, the trustee, or the appellant must file a statement that identifies each debtor not named in the caption and discloses the required information for each debtor that is a corporation.

Rule 8012 has been modified to reflect changes to Rule 26.1 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. Intervening non-government corporations are now subject to the rule as well as all debtor parties who must be separately identified even if not included in the case caption. Additionally, Rule 8012 statements must be updated when changes are made to the disclosures.

Rule 8013

Rule 8013 addresses the motions and interventions that must be made in a request for bankruptcy relief. Proof of Services have a long history of being a required part of a filing. A Proof of Service is a signed paper verifying that a person has attempted to deliver a document regarding a case to parties involved in a bankruptcy case. 8013, however, was revised to remove the requirement that “proof of service” be required as part of a bankruptcy filing. This change reflects another recent revision to Rule 8011(d) that eliminated the requirement for proof of service when filing as well as service are done through the electronic court filing system.

Rule 8015

Rule 8015 addresses what specifications must be followed if a paper copy of a brief must be filed. More specifically, the regulation addresses issues like reproduction, cover, binding, paper size, typeface, type styles, and length. This regulation has only been altered to reflect changes made to both Rules 8011(d) and 8012.

Rule 8021

Rule 8021 addresses how costs are handled in bankruptcy cases. Subdivision (d) of the rule was amended to remove a reference to proof of service. This change reflects the recent amendments to Rule 8011(d) which eliminated the requirement of proof of service when filing. 

Speak With a California Bankruptcy Attorney

While changes are made to the bankruptcy code each year, it is critical to make sure that each of these changes is properly observed if you plan on filing for bankruptcy. Failure to follow these changes can lead to penalties or additional complications involving your bankruptcy filing. If you have questions or concerns about the bankruptcy process, one of the best things that you can do is speak with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. Contact attorney Melanie Tavare today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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